Leading the Way in Life Science Technologies

GEN Exclusives

More »

GEN News Highlights

More »
Apr 9, 2009

Investigators Persuade Human ES Cells to Become Oligodendrocytes

  • Scientists from the University of Wisconsin report that they have successfully generated oligodendrocytes from human embryonic stem (ES) cells that can make myelin.

    For the past decade, researchers have reportedly failed to persuade human neural stem cells to become oligodendrocytes. There has, however, been success in changing mouse ES cells into oligodendrocytes through the exposure to a protein called Sonic Hedgehog. This protein produces oligodendrocytes in the spinal cord of developing embryos.

    In the current study, which will be published in May issue of Development, the investigators found that treating human ES cells with this same protein also turns them into oligodendrocytes; they just take longer to do it, 14 weeks as opposed to the two weeks taken by mouse ES cells.

    They also report that a growth factor called Fgf2, which promotes oligodendrocyte development in mouse ES cells, actually stalls it in human ES cells.



Related content

Be sure to take the GEN Poll

Cancer vs. Zika: What Worries You Most?

While Zika continues to garner a lot of news coverage, a Mayo Clinic survey reveals that Americans believe the country’s most significant healthcare challenge is cancer. Compared to other diseases, does the possibility of developing cancer worry you the most?

More »